“…these stories weren’t getting out because the management was censoring them. The ISPR on the other hand was very active in issuing press releases everyday, detailing the number of militants who had been killed and the military personnel who had been “martyred” (but never any mention of civilians). The military had restricted journalists’ access to the conflict zone (other than the occasional ISPR-chaperoned visit) so there was no way for journalists to independently verify any of the claims. So unfortunately, they just repeated the ISPR claims on television as if they were the truth.
That was my experience of reporting on the war in Swat last year, but I suspect reporters face more or less the same difficulties in covering the more recent wars in Waziristan, Orakzai and elsewere. It may seem like there is a great deal of news coming from the war zone each day, but in reality it is a great big sanitized black hole in the distance, and we may never know about the civilian casualties."
2010-04-14 15:47:58 UTC